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RE: Censorship by laziness

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 11:07:40 +1100 (EST)
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980121105436.3219B-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
My point was that with a bit of thought about the design of a website, 
much of this work is not necessary. The exception is ALT tagging, but as 
HTML 4.0 REQUIRES it, and the new OBJECT model allows for a very good 
cascade of alternatives, I consider that a fundamental part of design - 
not doing it is like leaving in a whole swag of proprietary tags which 
are not recognised except by the 'shazzam super-browser' or such-like.

To create Frame-based sites which are accessible does not require a 
non-frames version of the site. It merely requires that navigational 
links, etc, can be used by non-frames browsers. This can be done with a 
small addition to the index.html (or whatever default you choose) page 
and good design of the others. An example (now deceased apparently) was 
Netscape Corp.'s Javascript Authoring Guide, which I used to read with 
Lynx. Another example is the site at www.teddyworks.com, which has a 
no-frames option, although I don't know if I did the index.html properly 
- the site is in limbo so I never finished it. That simply produces the 
links in the main pages as well as the navigation frame.

A counter example is www.melbourne.org which is appallingly inaccessible. 
Apparently www.cfd.rmit.edu.au is also pretty bad - as a sighted user I 
find the navigation system incomprehensible (but visually appealing)

The point I was trying to make with my example was that it is not only 
disabled users who have access problems. There are MANY people out there 
who simply don't want to download a whole lot of graphics, applets and 
streaming videos simply to purchase a CD, or whatever, and will look for 
the site which works best without them.

I agree that it requires some work to fix a site afterwards. This is 
where the problems with authoring tools come in - many of them fail to 
take these issues into account, requiring that they be dealt with afterwards.

Where they do provide for good design, it often appears to be an 
afterthought - I have used packages which make it very difficult to 
actually ensure that the design will catert for accessibility, since the 
presentation models that the wizards want to produce are inherently less 
accessible. I assume this is not every package, of course, but the 
programs I find that do this best are 'hopelessly out of date'. On the 
other hand, they work.

Charles McCathieNevile

On Tue, 20 Jan 1998, Charles (Chuck) Oppermann wrote:

> I disagree with this comment:
> <<It is NOT harder to maker a site accessible than to make it without 
> caring>>
> I've had to go to many web authors and tell them their accessibility issues.
> Assigning someone to process all the images and add ALT tags is not trivial
> on large sites.  Adding text captions for multimedia streams is incredibly
> hard.  Creating text only, or frame/table-less versions is additional work.
> To make a site accessible does take additional work, work that is often
> punted in favor of meeting deadlines and/or budgets.
> Our mission in the WAI is to work around these problems - making sure that
> authoring tools automate the process as much as possible and point out ways
> that make it advantageous to make a site accessible to all.
> While it certainly better to do it from the start that to do it later, we
> have to consider the fact that it is more work and it needs to be justified
> and made easier.
> Charles Oppermann
> Program Manager, Active Accessibility, Microsoft Corporation
> mailto:chuckop@microsoft.com http://microsoft.com/enable/
> "A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!" 
Received on Tuesday, 20 January 1998 19:23:21 UTC

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